This garlic paste is a great time-saver when you are putting dinner on the table and want a little bit of garlic flavor without peeling and mincing cloves of garlic. It’s an instant burst of rich garlic flavor, perfect for a finishing garnish, a rub for meat or vegetables, an ingredient in dressings, or even spread on toast: Voilà, instant garlic bread. The fermentation mellows the sharpness of raw garlic, but it is still spicy and rich and salty a most satisfying condiment. Try mixing it with fresh minced parsley and olive oil, and tossing it with roasted potatoes, or brush it onto a savory tart dough before baking. Possibilities abound!
Fermented garlic paste can be made without the lemon and spices if that suits your cooking style better, but we find that the added ingredients deepen the flavor and add supporting notes without overwhelming the essence of the garlic. Be prepared to spend a good near-hour peeling cloves to make this paste; we assure you the results are worth the effort.
No Vampires allowed!
Makes about 1 pint. From Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes, by Kristen and Christopher Shockey.
Separate the cloves, and peel the papery skin from each clove.
Process the garlic cloves and spices to a thick paste in a food processor. The texture will be gooey, thick and sticky.
Remove the paste from the food processor and place in a mixing bowl.
Add the lemon juice, pepper, and cumin, if using.
Add the salt and mix thoroughly.
If you have any available, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of brine from a previous fermentation, which will act as a starter to get the ferment going quicker. Do not add water or unfermented brine.
Press the garlic paste down into a pint jar, and secure with a fermentation airlock. We like the Kraut-Source for this ferment particularly, because the garlic doesn’t make much brine; the spring press keeps the garlic pressed firmly down, minimizing air contact. If your jar isn't quite full, peel and halve an onion, and place it on top of the garlic paste to take up the remaining airspace in the jar.
Set the jar out of direct sunlight, and allow to ferment at room temperature for 14-21 days. Monitor the paste to ensure that the airlock is functioning; this recipe doesn’t make a lot of brine, so keeping air out is particularly important.
You can start to test the ferment on day 14. It’s ready when the garlic heat has mellowed somewhat, and the flavor has a bit more acidity from the fermentation process. It becomes sweeter, somehow, too, as if continues to ferment.
When the paste has reached a flavor to your liking, replace the fermentation airlock with a storage lid, and keep the paste in the refrigerator. It will keep in cold storage for 1 year, but it’s likely you will eat it long before then.
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